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Feb 10, 2009 06:45 PM

Broccoli vs. Cauliflower

I love the first yet loathe the second.
I'll eat Broccoli raw in salads, on a veggie/dip platter, lightly steamed, cheesed, deep-fried, stir-fried, in soup, you name it. Cauliflower I wouldn't touch in any form at any time (and the thought of using it as 'mock mashed potatoes' is purely revolting.)

How do you feel about these related yet totally different veggies? What's your favorite dish with either?

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  1. I love them both, especially roasted together with fingerling potatoes, olive oil & salt. I do not like how the kitchen smells after, though.

    1 Reply
    1. re: small h

      YES. My thoughts exactly!

      I also like cauliflower blanched and added to homemade mac and cheese (not the baked version).

    2. I am utterly the opposite.

      I love cauliflower... raw, cooked, steamed, fried, soup... as mock mashed potatoes.

      Broccoli will never darken my plate.

      1. I love them both.
        The stalks of each are my favorite part.
        Cauliflower is more closely related to cabbage than broccoli.

        9 Replies
        1. re: enbell

          And yet I like cabbage more than cauliflower. :)

          1. re: enbell

            Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage (the standard, white variety) are all simply different cutivars (or varieties) of the very same species, Brassica oleracea. The Brassica genus (part of the Brassicacea or mustard family) incredibly diverse culinarily speaking but the genetic differences are actually quite minor. Other cultivars of B. oleracea include kale, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi and collards among others.

            1. re: kmcarr

              Interesting. I learned that the genotypes of Cauliflower and Cabbage are more similar than when compared to Broccoli. I probably remember incorrectly. Regardless, isn't it interesting how small changes in the genome produce such vast phenotypic variation?! Thank you for the info :)

              1. re: enbell

                It is possible that the variation between cauliflower and cabbage is indeed smaller that cauliflower and broccoli; I just wanted the make the point that at the genetic level there is only a fraction of percent between all of them. The relative difference would depend on which heirloom cultivars served as progenitors for the modern varieties and who long ago farmer Brown started selecting for different traits.

                Regarding small changes you are correct. It is also an example of how selective pressures (humans in this case) can diversify a species. Look at what we did with the dog!

              2. re: kmcarr

                McSheridan, have you tried cauliflower in cheese sauce (make a white sauce and dump in a whole package of shredded extra-sharp cheddar)---mix with the cut-up cauliflower---brown in oven or under broiler. You might change your mind.

                1. re: Querencia

                  I'd eat it ... I eat cauliflower right off the plant without cooking it. I would prefer no cheese, but hey it's cheese ... who hates that :)

                  A good grilled steak or pork tenderloin and a salad on the side ... what time?

              3. re: enbell

                I love both and I also can't fathom why people throw away the stalks!

                Broccoli is a lighter vegetable in my house: stir-fried with oyster sauce or steamed with a simple squeeze of lemon.
                Cauliflower, however, always seems to do well when hearty: either as cauliflower cheese or roasted with garlic and parmesan.

                1. re: JungMann

                  Couldn’t agree more, JM.

                  Broccoli – steamed, stir fried, or small chopped raw in a salad.

                  Cauliflower – roasted, curried or au gratin-ed, and sometimes raw on a veggie tray.

                  I love both equally well, stem to floret, but in different applications.

                  1. re: JungMann

                    I am enjoying some broccoli stalks (lightly steamed with s/p) right now!

                  1. Agree with you 100%. Cauliflower is like a rough draft of broccoli - then someone decided to add some flavor and some color.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      I love that "cauliflower is like a rough draft of broccoli" :)